OLYMPIC REPORT / 28 DAYS TO THE GAMES
The day she broke her hand and suffered a serious neck injury that finished her as a gymnast, Melisa Moses decided she would go to the Olympics. Eight years later, she earned a trip to the Atlanta Games as a diver.
Moses easily won the three-meter title in the U.S. Olympic trials in Indianapolis on Thursday night with a score of 862.53.
Jenny Keim, the national springboard champion, received three perfect scores of 10.0 for a reverse 2 1/2 somersault that landed her on the team at 18. Keim totaled 823.65 points.
Moses, 24, led from start to finish and performed consistently, even after Keim’s next-to-last dive earned a standing ovation from the crowd at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Defending Olympic champion Mark Lenzi showed the effects of a 20-month retirement, finishing fifth in the men’s three-meter preliminaries with a 433.56 total. Scott Donie took first place.
Keim of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was third entering the five-dive final. She moved up to second on her first dive and stayed there on the strength of the reverse 2 1/2 somersault that earned three 10.0s, two 9.5s and two 9.0s from the seven judges.
Moses responded to Keim’s pressure with six 9.0s for a forward 2 1/2 somersault before closing out the competition with a reverse 2 1/2 somersault that earned two marks of 9.0 or better.
In the men’s three-meter preliminaries, Donie, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist on the 10-meter board, took the lead from Dean Panaro after the third of six optional dives. Donie, who was fourth on the springboard in the ’92 trials, was first with 475.38 points.
“For me, this is the hardest part,” Donie said. “I sort of come on in the finals, but there’s a long way to go.”
Panaro stunned the crowd on his opening dive, a forward 3 1/2 somersault with a 3.1 degree of difficulty, that earned four marks of 9.5 and two 9.0s from the seven judges. Panaro totaled 458.67.
“I did two good dives and the rest I just landed on my head as usual,” he said. “I may not be one of the favorites in your eyes or the eyes of the diving world, but Scott was the kind of pace car and I just followed him up.”